Research shows that there are two extremes when it comes to LinkedIn marketing; the person who wants to marry you on the first date and the wallflower. Namely the person who connects with you then immediately flings out a series of messages and at the other extreme, the person who connects and does nothing more.
Will you marry me? Now…yes, now!
Over the past few months, I have seen an increase in the following scenario.
- I receive an invitation to connect
- I accept it, and immediately…
- I receive an automated message thanking me for accepting the connection request.
You can tell it’s automated because of the speed and also the bland nature of the contents. Am I impressed? Not really. The person has probably used one of the increasing number of automated tools to seek out and invite connections which means they are building a vast network of ill-defined people. They are going for quantity over quality.
Now this may be a sensible approach for some companies – particularly those with widely-applicable solutions, such SaaS products, but for the majority of businesses with high value, bespoke business to business products and services a generic network building and messaging approach is unlikely to be successful unless you think that the numbers game works. If I connect to everyone and message them quickly, someone is bound to want to buy!
Despite the fact that a higher proportion of the evaluation of the purchase of new products and services is now done online, prior to making contact with a supplier, most businesses are operating in a specific industry sector and location so a vast network is vanity rather than sanity.
LinkedIn is better used by people who are interested in building long-term relationships rather than transactional businesses.
The main reason for diving in with instant messaging is the development of software for automating communications. It's just so easy and so tempting.
When it comes to lead generation on social media there are very different strategies for solopreneurs and small businesses compared with larger companies which have the resources to invest in brand awareness activities. Micro businesses may simply not have the time to devote to all aspects of marketing which may lead them to resort to automation.
Working lower down the funnel means a pipeline is more defined, you can take more care in finding out if you can help them and whether now is the right time to get close and personal.
I’m not really here – please don’t talk to me
At the other extreme is the wallflower. They connect and then do nothing – this may be a missed opportunity. Is there any point being on an online networking platform if you're not going to get involved? According to research by Hubspot, 44% of sales people give up after one attempt. https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/sales-statistics
And if you don't think you’re in sales, think again. According to world renowned marketing expert, John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing – ‘everyone is in sales’ https://www.ducttapemarketing.com/transcript-mindset-prospecting-sales/
Take me for a drink, out to dinner, to the movies and maybe we’ll take it to the next level.
In summary the problem with LinkedIn marketing is that most people have too many connections, their messaging is mistimed, absent or of poor quality, and lacks follow up.
The solution is to develop a highly targeted list of connections and to develop a series of carefully crafted communications, with links to:
- Case studies
- Cheat sheets and checklists
- White papers
- Video series
- Event invitations
A LinkedIn survey found that B2B buyers are 5x more likely to engage with a sales professional who provides new insights about their business or industry.